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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

A show of optimism

Buffalo Bills fans are known to be a bit overly optimistic.

In the latest show of high hopes for its favorite team, one group has already set aside Feb. 10 for a Super Bowl parade.

The team, of course, hasn’t made the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons, the longest drought in North American professional sports. But that hasn’t tempered the optimism at Bills Fanatics, which is living up to its name.

The parade, planned for the Friday the 2017 Super Bowl, would take an aggressive route, beginning with a rally at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park before making the 12-mile trek into downtown Buffalo. Those interested in attending can RSVP on Facebook.

It’s not the first time local fans were, perhaps, overly optimistic about the team’s prospects.

Earlier this year, devoted Bills fan Jon Rinaldo made quite a bold statement on Twitter, posting an image of a newly inked tattoo with the simple message “I believe” and the common #billsmafia. It was retweeted more than 700 times and shared by major news outlets like Fox Sports.

Rinaldo’s Twitter profile lists him as living in Hawaii, but it’s no secret Bills fans come from far and wide.

Boardroom dueling banjos

Certain Buffalo School Board members are known for standing up for their pet issues – and spending copious amounts of time at meetings pontificating about them on their soap boxes.

It’s true for those on both sides of the divided board. And at last week’s meeting, Barbara Nevergold dominated the conversation with concerns about students who opted out of state standardized tests and were then, she argued, at a disadvantage in gaining admission to City Honors School. She has been raising the issue at board meetings for months.

Nevergold made her points early in the meeting and then wanted to raise the issue again when it came time for a vote on the consent agenda.

A perplexed Superintendent Kriner Cash reminded her she already addressed the issue. Nevergold responded by saying she was entitled to bring it up again.

“You are a one ... string ... banjo,” Cash told her.

Nevergold didn’t seem to mind the characterization. Instead, she owned it.

“And I play it well.”

The banter continued later in the meeting when, after five hours, most of which was spent asking 50 questions about the 70 items on the consent agenda, some board members scoffed when Cash said he wanted to hold one of the items for a special meeting.

“Only if you promise it will be short,” board member Larry Quinn told him.

“Me? Promise?” asked Cash, who has voiced concerns about the amount of time the board spends in meetings.

No place for the golden years

Niagara Falls has its fair share of image problems, and now, a recent study has given the city another unflattering distinction.

The financial web site deemed Niagara Falls the worst city to retire in, citing high taxes, a snowy climate and an above-average crime rate. The city did have a few bright spots in the study, including a low cost of living and above-average walkability.

The web site looked at those factors, along with health care costs and cultural vitality, to rank 196 cities.

The top ratings went to Arlington, Va.; Franklin, Tenn.; West Des Moines, Iowa; Sarasota, Fla. and Scottsdale, Ariz.

“We found that smaller cities and suburbs fared the best,” said analyst Jill Cornfield. “Most seniors prefer to live in these types of communities because they offer access to big-city amenities without as much hustle, bustle and crime.”

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Nick Veronica and Ben Tsujimoto. email: